Legal Question in Criminal Law in Arizona

I am a 21 year old male living in Arizona, and am in a relationship with a 17 year old girl.. From what I have read regarding Arizona's age of consent laws, even though all parties including parents consent to our relationship, this is illegal. Would this fall under the Class 6 Felony case? Also, if I was to get charged after she turned 18 which is this year, would it help my case at all? My worries is that if we went through a bad break up further down the line, or if a professional was to report our activity, I would be charged and would most likely become a felon.. Is there any possible defense for this case if it is to occur? and/or a possibility of knocking it down to a misdemeanor and probation?

Asked on 4/12/12, 10:47 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Carrie Spiller Law Office of Carrie M Spiller, PLLC

In Arizona, there are a couple of statutes that are relevant to the situation you described. First, per ARS 13-1405(B): "Sexual conduct with a minor who is at least fifteen years of age is a class 6 felony."

And per ARS 13-1407(F): "It is a defense to a prosecution pursuant to sections 13-1405 and 13-3560 if the victim is fifteen, sixteen or seventeen years of age, the defendant is under nineteen years of age or attending high school and is no more than twenty-four months older than the victim and the conduct is consensual."

Under the facts you provided, your situation does not fall into this exception, since there is a bigger than 2 year age gap, and I am assuming you are no longer in high school.

There is a provision in AZ law that permits most (but not all) class 6 felonies to go "undesignated". This means they could either become a class 6 felony, or be designated as a misdemeanor. The designation by a judge usually doesn't happen until completion of whatever probation, classes, fines, etc the court chooses to impose. If the offense is "undesignated" and you finish all the requirements, the case can then be designated a misdeanor offense. The court would also have the ability also to just designate it a felony. I have seen this type of case go both ways, depending on all the circumstances.

If charges are ever filed, for whatever reason, you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney for assistance, given the possible issues with the felony designation. Feel free to contact me if you have further questions.

Read more
Answered on 4/12/12, 1:33 pm

Related Questions & Answers

More Criminal Law questions and answers in Arizona